Kelly Heikkila, Kinetic Data

Title: Director of products

Age: 42

Kelly Heikkila is helping to strengthen customer focus in his return to Kinetic Data as vice president of products for the St. Paul-based enterprise management software system developer.

Heikkila rejoined Kinetic after it acquired his company, Minneapolis-based Coderow, which developed mobile and desktop Web applications and hardware-connected mobile applications.

Heikkila worked at Kinetic as director of product development for eight years before leaving on good terms with Kinetic Data President John Sundberg to launch Coderow in 2008.

The companies have been collaborating since 2010 on product development. Their efforts included Kinetic Info, software that supports existing Kinetic Data products and that received best-new-product recognition last year from a user group.

“John had been talking over the last few months about Kinetic expanding and pushing their product development efforts forward to be able to release products to customers faster and to get into the mobile space, which we’ve been doing at Coderow for a while now,” Heikkila said.

Heikkila pursued an unusual path into software development, having studied art history at the University of Minnesota and working at the Minnesota Film and TV Board. His role in creating a website database of filming locations for the Film Board helped fuel his transition into the technology industry. That eventually led to him getting hired at Kinetic Data.

Kinetic Data works with Fortune 500 firms and government agencies to implement its enterprise request management system, which features a centralized portal for automating requests for new computer software and business services inside and outside of the company.

Q: How are you contributing to Kinetic Data’s efforts for focus on customers?

A: One thing customers respond to with Kinetic Data products is that they are so customizable. We’ve done retail apps, grocery apps and worked with a number of local start-ups, most of those being consumer-facing. It’s really taking it an extra step in a direction that Kinetic Data already was going.

Q: What is your Coderow experience bringing to Kinetic Data?

A: We had been building analytics platforms for groups from start-ups to Silicon Valley companies. We’re applying that to some of Kinetic Data’s products. It’s a management dashboard tool that allows an organization to pull data from almost anywhere and for management to look at that data quickly and easily and drill down into it.

Q: What has it been like to return to Kinetic Data’s offices, in downtown St. Paul’s Lowertown neighborhood?

A: Downtown St. Paul is a lot more fun, with the Bulldog and Barrio in our building and the St. Paul Saints stadium going up. I’m a west side person, so I can’t wait for the light rail to start.